- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
A VOICE FROM THE
I loudly cheered
Delany but I am afraid my voice was a bit drowned out by the booing. Once more,
thank you for at least giving a report on the other side of the fence.
Why not coin a word and call it semi-amateur athletics? A person who is given expense money to participate in a track meet is not, strictly speaking, an amateur; he is not a pro either, because he ostensibly does not make a living by it. He is in between, a semi-amateur.
We now have
semi-amateur athletes. The AAU should recognize them as such. If they did, all
this controversy about expense money would end, and so would all the hullabaloo
about amateur athletics. The Olympics Committee also should certainly recognize
the semi-amateur status. They would be foolish not to. The Russians are most
assuredly using the semi-amateur status and are getting publicity and prestige
by their successes in the Winter Olympics.
Because the AAU allows payment of perfectly legitimate expenses to athletes competing in sponsored meets, it has gotten itself into two highly uncomfortable hassles. First, by allowing an athletic event to be run by a business organization (the sponsor of the meet), the AAU is in the entertainment and merchandising business. Secondly, by allowing expenses, it has been forced to state, in effect, that all athletes are equal but some are more equal than others. In other words, the stars that pull in the crowds are entitled to more expenses than the little guys who provide the backdrop. How much more expenses is not in the hands of the AAU, but is up to the old law of demand and supply, which certainly has nothing to do with amateur athletics. There is only one Wes Santee, and as long as the AAU allows payments and allows outsiders to run their meets the one and only Wes Santee is worth a lot of money to the promoters, and everyone knows it.
If we believe in the concept of amateur sports, and it seems to me that the country by and large still does, then very plainly we must have an organization that not only lays down the rules but also schedules the events, hires a stadium for them, transports, feeds and houses the competing athletes, supervises the events and sends the boys home again. This the AAU does not do: the AAU is the keeper of the flame of amateurism but leaves the dirty work of organizing athletic events to people who have no interest in, respect for and understanding of its sacred principles.
I suggest that from now on the AAU allows only its own officials to promote meets, pays competing athletes reasonable expenses from the proceeds and allows no one else to meddle in its business.